After a demoralizing loss on Thanksgiving to the Cowboys, the Washington Commanders have lost three straight games and five of their last six. They’ve fallen to 4-8 overall and last place in the NFC East. To begin planning for the future, the team traded away both of its star pass rushers and fired its defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
The franchise and roster will likely look completely different next season, and most fans have already begun shifting their mindset to the future.
With a potential top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s never too early to start daydreaming about the incoming rookie class.
Heading into their Week 13 matchup against the Dolphins, the Commanders hold the fifth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Drafting a quarterback is a possibility. But the team could still choose to stick with Sam Howell and build around him with three top-40 picks. The top of this draft class aligns beautifully with Washington’s biggest needs at premium positions — offensive linemen, pass rushers, and offensive playmakers. The future could be bright in D.C.
5 NFL Draft Targets for Washington Commanders in 2024
Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
Maserati Marv might seem like a luxury for the Commanders as a draft target. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are already locked in long-term. But weapons like Harrison Jr. don’t come around often, and when they do, you don’t pass on them. Period. He is 6’4″, 205lbs with rare contested-catch ability and game-breaking speed for his size. The team might have bigger needs. But they will have four other top-100 picks to address them with. MHJ is the big-bodied boundary receiver the Commanders have sorely missed in their offense. He’d instantly be Howell’s best friend.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 25, 2023
Penn State OT Olu Fashanu
If Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Marvin Harrison Jr. all are selected before Washington’s pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they’d likely opt to shore up the trenches for their young quarterback. No NFL team has allowed more sacks this season than the Commanders have. Howell has eaten turf 55 times through 12 games, a pace that cannot be permitted to continue. Enter Olu Fashanu, the 6’6″ 320lbs redshirt junior offensive tackle from Penn State. Fashanu was named an All-American in 2022, allowing zero sacks and only six QB hurries on 542 snaps, and has only improved his draft stock this season.
Notre Dame OT Joe Alt
Joe Alt vs. Olu Fashanu will be a fascinating battle to follow throughout the draft process. Alt has a two-inch height advantage and might be the most plug-and-play-ready pass protector in the entire draft. For a team with 2024 playoff aspirations, that will be appealing. Alt also allowed zero sacks and earned All-American honors in 2022, further muddying the comparison between the two tackles. Teams will develop their individual preferences based on pre-draft interviews, subjective film reviews, and NFL Combine results, but rest assured that Joe Alt will be near the top of Washington’s draft board.
UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu
Latu’s fit as a draft target for the Commanders is obvious. Washington traded away two former first-round edge rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the deadline, leaving two gaping holes in the starting lineup. That being said, the fanbase might revolt if the new GM decides to invest in the defensive line again. With Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen on the books already, it makes sense to diversify their top assets throughout the roster. If the team does prioritize pass rushers, Laiatu Latu will likely compete with Alabama’s Dallas Turner and Florida State’s Jared Verse for the top positional rank. Latu produced 23.5 sacks across 24 games played in his final two healthy seasons.
The best pass rusher in America can PICK 'em off too! 🙌
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) November 26, 2023
UGA TE Brock Bowers
NFL teams have drafted only four tight ends with a single-digit pick in the first round since 2000: Kellen Winslow, Vernon Davis, T.J. Hockenson, and Kyle Pitts. All four recorded at least one 900+ yard receiving season and one Pro Bowl selection in their first four years. Brock Bowers will almost certainly hear his name called within the first nine picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. Rookie tight ends are producing earlier in their careers than ever before, and Bowers might be the most well-rounded tight end prospect since the turn of the century. Adding either Bowers or Harrison Jr. would do wonders for Sam Howell’s growth as a passer.
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